VIHA is involved because the prevailing orthodoxy on how to deal with dope addicts is "harm reduction" and treating addiction primarily as a health issue. For now this mostly means ensuring that addicts get all the clean drug paraphernalia they need. Though the problems and concerns noted above hardly represent harm reduction for the neighbourhood. And the next step is, of course (though VIHA denies it), safe injection sites where users can shoot up in comfort under the supervision of medical staff.
St. Andrew's elementary schoolchildren in their blue tartan uniforms will pass by drug addicts and pushers on their way to the playground after Victoria's needle exchange moves into the neighbourhood this summer.
"We're very concerned we've received no information before this went public," Pollard [the principal] said. "The safety of the children is our primary concern."
The needle exchange will be adjacent to the newly constructed Our Place homeless drop-in centre, near the Victoria Conservatory of Music, across from a busy McDonald's restaurant and kitty-corner to the private Catholic school.
Overall, the ‘strategy’ effectively makes it easier for addicts to remain addicted. Clean needles, nice facilities and friendly service amount to tacit approval and enabling of drug use. This is somehow supposed to solve the problem of addiction; but, as might reasonably be expected, the number of addicts continues to grow. One supposes the dope suppliers and pushers are very happy with the approach.
The "authorities" have clearly bought into the concept. How do the little people feel?